What made you change your life
How my exit changed my life
In these days I look back on four years that were so completely different from my life before. At that time I actually had everything you could possibly want: a great apartment, a nice car, family, friends, a well-paid job and thus the opportunity to be able to afford many wonderful trips to the most exotic places in the world. Nevertheless, a void regularly caught up with me that I did not know how to fill.
My strategy for perfect happiness "work a lot, earn a lot, spend a lot" did not seem to work in the long term. After a long struggle, I finally and finally decided to give my life the chance and time to look for the meaning of life that was more suitable for me. Within ten months, I quit my job and apartment and sold almost everything except the essentials that fit in a small storage room.
Life without an apartment
Letting go is probably one of the most difficult and painful tasks to face in life. At some point in life we will have to let go of loved ones, pets, familiar things and various other things that give us security, stability and joy. And a worthwhile and important experience after giving up my own belongings was that possession is neither important nor (in most cases) of lasting value.
What a strange feeling not to have an apartment any more, I thought and bought myself a VW bus before I finally gave up my apartment. He would always be able to offer me a roof over my head if something should go wrong. And suddenly there was only one key on my previously bulging key ring. From now on, no more access to your own four walls, no unlocking an office in the morning, no mailbox, no bike. Just a camper and me.
Life without a home is unusual, but immensely liberating. In any case, it was so liberating for me that I still haven't been able to choose a new home to this day. One of my big questions was where I would most like to live. Somewhere in the distance under palm trees? In the countryside? In the mountains? Or is it in the old homeland of Cologne? The best thing about these questions is that I don't have to give a definitive answer today or tomorrow.
The greatest wealth: time
Before I left, many years consisted of 60- and 70-hour weeks with short weekends, most of which I spent in bed exhausted. The only memories of that time are limited to a lot of work and my travels - nothing else. Today every day is different and I can even say that every day is special and even fantastic! Having time is a wonderful state and my greatest luxury.
The way to get here was not always easy, however. Among other things, you need to find a fulfilling task or vocation and at the same time you urgently need to learn to put aside existential fears and trust life as well as yourself. After my one year trip around the world, I started my own business and can therefore always organize my time freely. Since my job mainly consists of writing, I can work anywhere, which gives me a lot of freedom.
Due to my relatively low expenses (no own apartment, cheap office, very conscious consumption, travel mostly via invitations etc.) I don't have to put myself under pressure to earn a correspondingly high sum every month, but can be completely relaxed and without pressure Life. My credo since leaving the company has been to achieve the highest possible effect with the least possible effort and that has worked very well so far.
Money is important, but not everything
Thanks to my ambition and a little luck, I have always had generous employers since I was 20, which has allowed me to afford a lot over the years. It is all the more difficult after such a long time to suddenly watch a steadily dwindling amount of money in your account with no income. Nevertheless, I am extremely grateful for the experience of living on little money, because it has brought a great deal of humility back into my life.
We live in Germany in a land of milk and honey. We are socially protected as best as possible (not all, but that's another topic), we are world champions in going to the doctor and in accumulating insurance contracts. And yet so much has to be so cheap so that you can really afford everything to live the supposedly perfect life. Most of them are still not happy because in the end it is never enough. Once one has been bought, the next one is checked.
If most people lived like me, the industry would have to rethink quickly - which would also be urgently needed. I buy a few, high-quality and durable products, use almost only organic, never go to discount stores, cheap clothes or fast food stores, only fly 1-2 times a year for work, do not take any medication and generally just consume very little everything. If I'm satisfied myself and have time, I don't need all the fuss around me at all.
Anxiety - an overrated feeling
It is not brave to start a new life with around 50,000 euros. People who risk their life for something or who put themselves in great danger for a good cause are brave. But you don't need to be afraid of leaving, because your own life does not depend on it. There are numerous (temporary) jobs to stay afloat in the event of an emergency, and if the search for an apartment in the big city fails, the suburbs may also have its charm.
An exit teaches two things in particular: 1.) All previous fears, worries and concerns have not been fulfilled, which is why I could have saved myself the whole headache. I could not have foreseen all the challenges that actually arose. 2.) If you have only a little, you can only lose a little. A very relaxed and at the same time liberating feeling that you will always be able to use for the rest of your life.
Even if I am, for example, a rather fearful and cautious person, in the end the only decisive factor is how much space I give to fear. It's basically like a fire: I can really pour gasoline on it and turn it into a real problem, or just watch it go out. Fear is certainly justified, but it restricts us and kills passion and creativity. Therefore, allow yes, but generally give in no.
Self-esteem - the most important work on yourself
If someone asks me today what is most important for a good life, I always answer with "A pronounced self-esteem." Not to be confused with self-confidence, because a self-confident manner is not an art. However, very few people have really good self-esteem. You are never good, smart, beautiful, slim, trendy and perfect enough compared to others and that affects every single second of life.
With a well-developed self-esteem, I don't have to adapt to others, don't correspond to any status and can be happy with a normal or more rounded figure. Then I am not afraid of criticism or hostility, can also go unusual ways and also know that I don't have to be perfect for anyone. This condition brings with it an incredibly high level of satisfaction, because it removes any social pressure to perform.
The only problem is that regaining this desirable trait is very difficult. You can't even just read a book with which all of the deeply burnt-in experiences from childhood and adolescence are forgotten in one fell swoop. It takes time to learn not to judge yourself for anything, to accept your body, to let criticism rebound and to be satisfied without status symbols. But this trail is worth it more than anything else in my opinion!
My body - my home base
Today I could slap myself for having paid so little attention to this marvelous body in the past. I really want to grow old in him, I want to look beautiful in him, I want to lead a healthy life with him. After a few years of wear and tear, I can simply replace a car, but not my body. Not that long ago, I randomly crammed everything into myself - out of frustration, comfort, or because I simply didn't care.
As soon as one deals with nutrition and the ingredients of our cosmetics, it quickly becomes clear that today almost all industrial products contain carcinogenic and / or environmentally harmful components. Pesticides find their way into fruits, vegetables, beverages and, via grain, ultimately also into meat and dairy products. A win-win situation for the local pharmaceutical companies, because it allows them to spread disease in one place and cure disease in the other.
In the meantime I find the following thoughts particularly important: Can it be good and healthy energy for my body if I eat something that has only suffered its short life and died in agony in the end? Do I want to wear clothes and shoes created through exploitation? Can I feel good if I harm the environment with what I do? Every food, every piece of clothing and every product has its own story and every consumer has a choice here!
Empathy - the diamond of a personality
Ever since I was a child, I have been annoyed by people who, full of selfishness and self-importance, are not interested in what is happening around them. Until I realized that I was also clearly lacking empathy: The film “Earthlings”, which explains the full range of animal suffering today, has broken open a huge lock to a completely new room in my heart, for which I am infinitely grateful am
In this room there were treasured treasures hidden. Today I can empathize with people and animals, cry in all imaginable situations or intensely empathize with someone else's emotional world. All of this is incredibly valuable because real connection, in my opinion, is one of the essential foundations of our existence on this planet. I believe that everyone has this key to this room in their pocket, but opening it is not easy.
Dealing with an unimagined amount of love and compassion is quite a challenge, because for me it is z. B. can only be explained in retrospect by the fact that I used to eat sentient beings and wear the skin of animals. But communication with people has also changed. On the one hand, conversations become deeper and more intense, on the other hand, I am increasingly bothered by arrogance and ignorance and there inevitably needs a valve to be able to discharge the anger again.
Travel - the gateway to freedom
In the past, breaking out of my everyday life and experiencing exciting adventures in the big wide world was the most important thing. I thought traveling was my life and if I only had the chance, I would just be on the go. Today I know that this was primarily about the desire for freedom. After my world tour around the globe, it became clear that being constantly on the move is not the right thing for me. Travel shouldn't be an everyday occurrence - travel should remain something special.
If I can design every day freely today, I no longer have the need to constantly have to go on vacation somewhere. Added to this is the inexorably growing mass tourism, which makes me happy to have already seen most of the great destinations in the world and to be able to remember them beyond the huge crowds and littering. Apart from that, I also see the great environmental pollution that unfortunately comes with it, especially long journeys.
After my recent road trip in a camper through England and Scotland, I found that I am tired of traveling. The fascination is no longer what it used to be. Here, too, I ask myself more and more often to what extent traveling can be my happiness if it harms people and the environment - at least in some places. In any case, a good characteristic for me to settle down again, to put down roots and wait until the anticipation and longing for a trip returns to me.
Where is it now, my luck?
From all the advice on happiness that I have read, I can only draw one result: the search for happiness is not what one should strive for. There is no permanent happiness and even if it were, it would be a shame, because then this beautiful feeling would no longer be so desirable. Life isn't just about the good days. In my opinion, the fulfillment is much more decisive. What makes my heart beat faster? What touches, excites and inspires me? What am I burning for?
In order to find your own fulfillment, you have to get out of your daily treadmill, open your heart and listen to yourself. Many of the people whom I have asked out of interest in the last few weeks and months about their personal fulfillment could not give me an answer even after asking several times. It is actually what makes us live, releases an incredible amount of power and, of course, every now and then brings incredibly happy moments.
Things that you do with passion are never really going to be bad. From this it follows per se that one should calmly trust life more. Today I know that I cannot go under and that life somehow always goes on. This insight in turn not only gives me a lot of self-confidence, but at the same time supports me in consistently pursuing my goals, which will definitely be rocky here and there in the future - but it's worth it!
After 4 years: from dropping out to switching
In addition to the many advantages and very nice moments in this new, different life, there were unexpectedly many sad and angry moments. Somehow maybe logical, because while in a 40-hour week a large part of the 60,000 thoughts on work day are devoted to me, they were purely personal in nature. Having read a lot, looked at a lot of documentations and did a lot of research, I rediscovered my common sense beyond the extreme external influence.
And with a lot of free time, I have been observing the actions of today's society since then and sometimes have great difficulty coping with them. Completely thoughtless consumption, the visible and noticeable climate change, suffocation in plastic waste (Germany is European packaging champion), poverty among the elderly, disinterest on the part of politics, disrespect for other people, factory farming, legal advertising rubbish for products - I could go on here indefinitely.
In my situation, there are really only two alternatives: Either go to the country, write novels and don't notice anything, or stay in the middle of it and help others to adjust instead of swimming in the wrong direction with the crowd. First of all, I opt for alternative 2. Today I do without a lot and am still much more satisfied than before and I would like to pass on this spirit, which in my opinion is up-to-date.
What will change now?
In the past few years I have learned to only listen to my intuition. It's not always logical, maybe not always effective, but it always made sense in the end. Therefore, I only recently made the decision to end my intensive journey around the world and finally to put what I had learned and experienced into practice. I've waited a long time for my prospects for the future to fall from the sky - and then suddenly they were there:
- From frequent traveler to slow traveler: Since I no longer consider wild travel to be exciting and at the same time no longer justifiable from an ecological point of view to the extent that it used to be, I just want to travel consciously, i. H. be on the move less often and stay in one place longer. My VW bus and my everyday car are exchanged for a small, used car with little horsepower and a tent. So that this blog can continue to inspire with special goals, a team of six guest authors will go on press trips for me. I myself concentrate on writing more books, my training as a trainer for nonviolent communication and reports on sustainable topics as well as insider tips for Cologne and trips to the surrounding area.
- From the lone fighter to the crew: A lot more can be achieved with several people than just creating something with your own two hands. In the future I would like to reach more people with good and meaningful information and a few interns will support me in this in the near future. I have also expanded my office space in a suburb of Cologne and this offers space for workshops and other creative opportunities.
- Towards good consumption: I find this world with the many new products that use fewer resources, plastic-free and / or more environmentally friendly, extremely exciting. While I used to shy away from changes in my everyday life, today I love good innovations that I would like to continue to report on or in the future. Consumption cannot be avoided in the meantime, but here the “how” is very important in my opinion.
- More community & woman power: My Facebook group for women traveling alone, BRAVEGIRLS, has grown to an impressive 10,000 members in just one year. In particular, the visible successes - that fearful women gain more self-confidence and initiative through the positive influence of others - encourage me to expand this community even further. (Supplement 2019: I have since handed over this group.)
For me, the key to returning to the world of work is that, unlike in the past, I really enjoy my work because the content finally makes sense for me and, despite everything, I am independent, i. H. I always have the freedom to choose how I organize every single day and where I spend it.
Three book tips that stimulate reflection and rethinking:
- Happiness and other trifles of absolute importance (Haim Shapira) [book * | Audio book *]
- The wisdom of a yogi (Sadhguru) - [Book * | Audio book *]
- The Power of the Heart (Baptist de Pape) - [Book * | Audio book *]
Notice regarding advertising law: The aforementioned links lead to Amazon and Audible. If you purchase a book or audiobook through one of these links, I will receive a small commission that will help keep this blog going.
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